Knowledge Absorption (KA) is one of the critical phase in application transition. If KA fails everything else in the transition phase will be deemed for failure. The KA phase is especially challenging for those applications for which we have no pointers. Typically, the business analyst (BA) will be held responsible for functional transitions and during the knowledge transitions for new domains/applications. Here’s an approach to help business analysts overcome the various challenges:
- Understand the domain involved. The first and foremost task for any application KA is to understand its business domain. This will help the BA to be better prepared before entering the KA phase.
- Identify the entities involved in the domain. The next step is to identify the entities involved in the domain. Any entity has a discrete and self-contained existence. For example, Customer, Account, Product, etc. are some of the entities in the Retail banking domain. Sometimes an application could represent only a sub-domain; that is, an application that takes care of only customer pricing in Retail Banking domain. In such cases, filter down the entities that are only impacted by the sub-domain.
- Derive the use cases for each entity. After listing down the entities, you need to create use-cases to represent their inter-relationships. Use cases need not necessarily be a pictorial representation; at a basic level it can just be bullet points in the spreadsheet. It will be a better approach to drill down the use cases as much as possible for meticulous estimation.
- Structure the use cases. Sort and group the use cases in a logical sequence. As obvious as it is, one needs to know how to start the engine of the car first before learning how to move it.
- Estimate the KA effort for each use case. Summarize the KA effort required for each use case at the logical group level that one would have arrived earlier in the process. This could be a rough order of magnitude considering all possible assumptions.
- Arrive at the KA Schedule. Based on the effort, come up with a schedule for the meeting with the SME. Avoid planning back-to-back sessions and have some breaks in between the sessions to allow for knowledge transfer and clarification of open queries from previous sessions. Schedules should ideally be prepared with due review by the project manager. Most importantly, it should align with the overall transition schedule.
However well-planned you may be, there may always be surprises on our way. We should identify risks upfront and ensure that a mitigation plan is in place. We should then plan to walk through the KA schedule with the SME, with the client and revisit the schedule if required. Monitoring the KA sessions continuously and assessing the coverage percentage will enable us to address any gaps that we may come across, even at a later stage of the transition. Hope this blog post helps you get an understanding of some of the things to consider while you are preparing for a transition phase. Would like to hear your experiences too on how you went about ensuring a smooth knowledge absorption program.